Last year, former Sonic the Hedgehog artist Ken Penders announced that he had retained the rights to all the characters and story lines he created while working on the comic (from issue #11 to #135), which is published by Archie Comics. Penders has sued the game companies Sega and Electronic Arts, claiming copyright infringement, and Archie Comics has sued Penders, asking the court to make a declaratory judgment on the rights question; that case is scheduled to go to court next month. It looks like a long shot, but if the court finds in Penders’s favor, Archie will be in a pickle, as they have not only reprinted those issues in digest form but also continued the storylines Penders originated, using the characters he now claims to own. (I reached out to the Archie Comics folks but they had no comment.)
In the meantime, Penders is keeping busy: He just revealed a redesign of Julie-Su, Lara-Su’s mother, for the graphic novel series he is working on, The Lara-Su Chronicles. It’s going to be an odd series, because even if the court decides that Penders should have the rights to the characters he created while working for Archie, they won’t give him the rights to Knuckles or Sonic, so the cast will be all supporting characters. On the other hand, it would be an interesting alternate universe for Sonic fans. Stay tuned!